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ODD FELLOWS: Centuries-old order seeking to restart local chapter

They are described as a fraternal organization dating back to early England where it originated.

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows arrived in this country in 1819, when five members traveled across the pond to the United States.

The fellowship is similar to that of the Masonic Order.

Jack Reasoner, Nevada’s Grand Master, said he is looking to get an order started in Pahrump soon with an introductory meeting is scheduled for Dec. 12 at St. Martin’s in the Desert Episcopal Church.

“We are looking to expand the Odd Fellows into Pahrump and I was told there was a lodge in Pahrump at one time,” he said. “Right now we are the only lodge in Las Vegas. There was one in Boulder City but they lost their membership.”

Reasoner also said the order began as a man’s organization where individuals met in taverns near the end of the Civil War.

“The vice president under Grant was very active in the Odd Fellows,” he said. “We believe in a supreme being, and we come together in our local communities having the same beliefs and values as others. Friendship, love and truth are the basic guidelines that we follow in our daily lives. Through working in our local communities, states, we understand that we can make a difference in the lives of people in our world.”

Reasoner said the Odd Fellows are similar to what’s known as a ‘guild’ and was comprised mainly of gold or iron craftsmen.

“It was the laborers’ guild type of thing, where if a worker lost his job for some reason in the village, they would get him to the next village and contact the people to see about finding him a job and that was the start of it,” he said.

It takes roughly 15 members to form a lodge, and at least five members to remain a lodge.

While the main focus is community involvement, Reasoner said the Odd Fellows have one simple rule during their regular meetings.

“We have two things that are forbidden to be discussed during lodge meetings,” he said. “One of them is politics and the other is religion. We have a very serious requirement that says you must believe in a supreme being no matter what religion it is. Everybody is welcome to come find out more about the Odd Fellows and we will have literature to hand out that will provide more information.”

As a non-profit, the Odd Fellows have a scholarship program for area youth as well as a United Nations tour for high school students, who have the opportunity to visit Philadelphia, New York and the United Nations building.

“We found that when we send these kids on the tour, when they come back they’re not kids anymore because they’ve grown up an awful lot,” he said. “We are coming over to get people interested and we asked our members in Las Vegas to bring friends with them to Pahrump just to talk about our fellowship.”

St. Martins in the Desert Episcopal Church is located at 631 W. Irene St. between Linda and Lola. The Dec. 12 meeting is scheduled for 3 p.m.

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @sharrispvt.

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